An open letter from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter:
Here in Colorado, we’re seeing encouraging signs of success and reason for optimism.
Last week we learned Colorado’s unemployment rate has dipped to 7%, now nearly 3 full points below the national average of 9.8% — and lower than all but a dozen states’ unemployment rates.
We’re still not out of the woods. Too many Coloradans are still struggling to find work, as businesses and families tighten their belts and adjust to the new economic reality. We continue to face a very difficult budget situation in the capitol. We’re making tough choices from limited options, requiring everyone from state employees to those who rely on public services to make even more sacrifices in the months ahead.
While challenging, this new economic reality presents us with a fresh opportunity to think ahead, adapt and create new pathways to grow and prosper in the 21st Century.
That’s why we’re building New Colorado Partnerships that better connect government with businesses, schools, and our research facilities to invest in our people and attract the industries of tomorrow to Colorado. We’re transforming government to keep pace with the rapid changes each Colorado business and family must face today, while making it tighter, more entrepreneurial, and more nimble to meet the challenges of these new economic times. We’re offering tax incentives to businesses that create jobs in Colorado, providing access to capital, making revolutionary changes to improve our education system, and strengthening our public universities.
That’s why Forbes.com and CNBC both rank Colorado among the top five states in which to do business. It’s why Colorado schools are well-positioned to receive millions of dollars in federal “Race to the Top” funding. And it’s why many experts believe our diverse economy will help Colorado emerge from the national recession sooner and stronger than other states.
Our bold strategy is already paying dividends, as last week’s unemployment report confirms. We are setting an example for the rest of the nation to follow. The challenges ahead are great, but they are not impossible, and Coloradans have a reason for optimism.
Please join me to share this simple message of hope:
While unemployment continues to creep upwards of 10% or even 15% in other states, Colorado is open for business and attracting new jobs every day. This month alone, two major New Energy Economy companies — SunRun and SMA Solar Technology — have announced plans to open their doors and hire more than 700 new workers here in Colorado.
They join dozens of other new energy, aerospace, bioscience, and technology companies adding thousands of new jobs and forever re-orienting Colorado’s economy to be more innovative, more prosperous, and more sustainable.
Government can’t do everything, and our New Colorado Partnerships aren’t the only reason companies and entrepreneurs are choosing to open their doors in Colorado. But government can do a lot to build a brighter future for families and businesses and help all of us achieve the Colorado Promise, and so long as I’m governor, it will.
Bill Ritter, Jr.
Governor of Colorado